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Channel Letters and upright inches

Discussion in 'General Signmaking Topics' started by Rednallohd, Dec 8, 2014.

  1. Rednallohd

    Rednallohd New Member

    Dec 8, 2014

    I have always designed and subbed out channel letters. My company is now getting into fabricating in house. I understand how to fabricate the letters. My question is how would I calculate the upright inch of a letter. Is there a good formula?

  2. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

    Sep 24, 2004
    upright inch? never heard of it
  3. Rednallohd

    Rednallohd New Member

    Dec 8, 2014

    Basically, I am trying to figure out the proper (or best ) way to quote out channel letters. My fabricator said to find the upright inches. It did not make a ton of sense to me so I assumed I was missing something.

    Is there a formula or rule of thumb for quoting these?

    I know this is a very vague question but any advise would be appreciated.

  4. J Hill Designs

    J Hill Designs Major Contributor

    Sep 24, 2004
    either that or a cost per inch of letter height per letter?
  5. Rednallohd

    Rednallohd New Member

    Dec 8, 2014
    Return Depth

    It's possible that he was talking about the return depth.

    What I was wondering if there was a good calculation such as:

    Length x Height x Return Depth

    x amount

    = Cost

    I do know that there are multiple variables. Just looking for an idea of how to calculate cost so when I am designing I will not be breaking budget. Also when sales people go out they can estimate what they can offer.
  6. ColoPrinthead

    ColoPrinthead Swollen Member

    Dec 17, 2009
    Donkeytown, Colorado
    I'm guessing he is talking about linear inches, the measurement of each letter's perimeter.
  7. OADesign

    OADesign Active Member

    Jan 27, 2006
    There is no magic formula.

    Upright inch is just that; vertical height of the letter.

    So a 12" tall basic Arial Letter "A". Lets say $5 an upright inch would be $60.

    In the case of a logo or shape that is wider the it is tall, take the same math and and use the width instead of height.
  8. Gino

    Gino Major Contributor

    Jun 7, 2006
    ^^ this ^^
  9. Z SIGNS

    Z SIGNS Active Member

    Feb 14, 2009
    Trenton NJ
    This may sound dumb to most of you

    We do about 1 set of channel letters a month around here and we keep the estimating simple.

    Up to a 23" inch letter it's $500 a letter $1000 for the permit and $1000 for the install.

    We do it this way because a 12" letter is no different than a 13",14",15"etc. letter.
    Yes you might use more led's on a 24"letter versus a 12" but it is only pennies more.

    The time, labor and everything else remains the same.
    Building, permitting and installing a 12" letter is no different than building a 13" letter so why should you get less money for the 12"

    The size of the sign is only a number you enter into the computer.
    In the old days we use to say size is just a number you set your saw to. You are still doing the same amount of work.

    We sell our signs on advertising value,quality and service.

    Pricing by the pound like you are selling cold cuts never made any sense to me.
  10. Rocco G

    Rocco G Member

    Feb 27, 2014
    Pennsauken NJ

    It's always been the case that channel letters get charged by the size, especially if you buy/sell them wholesale. We always charged a 12" min back when we made channel letters by hand and had to fend off wandering saber tooth tigers. :tongue:

    Don't forget that extra wide fonts get charged by the biggest dimension. Or if it's a slanted letter, etc. Go by the largest dimension. Script is an extra charge as are fonts with serifs.

    If you can get a set price per letter up to a certain size, that's fine too - whatever works.

    We no longer make many channel letters (its cheaper to just buy them) but do a lot of wholesale installation. I always have to laugh when a project manager calls me back and asks how much less to install 14" channel letters than 16" letters.
  11. nwsigns

    nwsigns Member

    Jan 13, 2011
    Monroe wa
    As a wholesale vendor I can tell you that using upright inch (the longest length of the letter) for pricing does work but you need to work out the pricing carefully. Upright inch pricing does not typically include lighting as you need to consider stroke. Upright inch formula + lighting + graphics + any paint, etc.

    Work out detailed pricing for several sizes, typestyles, etc and then get your price per inch for future use. This will change according to your fabrication method (hand or CNC bender) clincher or rivets, etc. Know your costs first.
  12. Craig Sjoquist

    Craig Sjoquist Major Contributor

    Jun 18, 2004
    Z Signs said it well.

    Another thing you said you have been subbing these out before, so go back to invoices & get some good estimates already finished & you can find your profit/loss per job.

    You got it very lucky these days before we had to make channel letters by hand from the pattern to finished product, but most now also look cheaply done when finished, hopefully with LEDs they will start looking better, one thing that really bothers me is to see that ugly long box behind all the letters that holds the ballasts, take my advice & put a metal background behind the letters to cover up the long box & mounting.

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